Lillard says he earned it
When the list of starters and reserves for this year's All-Star Game was released to the public, it raised many eyebrows owing to the fact that many superstars were surprisingly not selected to participate. In addition to this, some even questioned the deservedness of some of the selected players, saying that there are others who are far more deserving of the spot.
Take note, folks. Chris Paul wasn't selected. So was Paul George. The Oklahoma City Thunder got only 1 of their 3 stars to play in the All-Star Game in Russell Westbrook while the Golden State Warriors got 4 players to represent them. No wonder why Russell Westbrook found it outrageous.
Statistically, Russell Westbrook has every reason to find the exclusion of teammate, Paul George from the mid-season festivity. While Paul George is only averaging 20 points per game- the third best among small forwards, he is the second best in the league in steals per game, averaging 2.11 steals per game.
Now, one of the players on the list that is presumed to be the target of Russell Westbrook's statement is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. To begin with, the Blazers have won 6 of their last 10 games and are in 7th place in the Western Conference with a 26-22 record, all thanks to the leadership of Lillard. He is averaging 25 points in 40 games that he has played this season, so far. And he has hit countless big shots and has saved the Blazers from defeats, numerous times.
Question: Does Damian Lillard deserve his All-Star selection?
Statistically speaking, Damian Lillard has the numbers to back up his claims that he has earned his spot in the All-Star Game. Let's check the numbers below:
- 25 points per game: Lillard is the second leading scorer among all point guards, only trailing James Harden.
- 36% from the three-point line: Lillard is at the 16th spot in the 3-point shooting percentage while Westbrook is at 25th spot with a 30% 3-point shooting percentage.
But more than the numbers, this pundit on wheels really think that it's about time for the Portland Trail Blazers to have a representative on the All-Star Game owing to the fact that they have been well during the course of the 2017-2018 season and Damian Lillard is one of the reasons why the Blazers have been successful as of late.
Frankly, this pundit on wheels also prefers to see Chris Paul start alongside James Harden because they beat the Warriors a few days ago.
Damian Lillard is a legitimate All-Star whether Russell Westbrook likes it or not. Lillard has worked his way up to this point without a legitimate superstar as a teammate so it says something about Lillard's longevity. He could have opted to play elsewhere but chose to stay in Portland so that says something about his loyalty to the franchise that nurtured him to what he has become: a soon-to-be 3-time All-Star.